Everyone deserves the best when it comes to receiving health care and the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) works hard every day to achieve just that.
The MAFP, located in Okemos, is Michigan’s largest specialty physician association. According to Debra McGuire, CEO of MAFP, the academy represents over 4,200 practicing family physicians, residents and medical students who are planning to pursue a career in family medicine.
“We support them through leadership, collaboration and innovation,” said McGuire. “Our mission is to make sure all Michigan residents have access to quality and affordable health care.”
McGuire explained family physicians were once referred to as general practice physicians, but the name was changed to become contemporary with what the physicians actually do.
“[Family physicians] care for patients of all ages, everyone from infants to the elderly. It’s a wide spectrum of patients that family physicians take care of,” she said.
An extension of the academy is its philanthropic arm, known as the MAFP Foundation – its mission; to help promote the continuing comprehensive and cost-effective care to Michigan residents.
“More specifically, we support the program and the activity of the MAFP in the philanthropy area. We develop programs that promote family medicine in Michigan and continuing medical education of all of our practicing medical physicians in the state as well as the residents and students in terms of offering scholarship, externships and grants,” explained McGuire. “The foundation is also involved in research initiatives and public health initiatives.”
According to McGuire, family physicians are one of the lowest paid specialties and students who are choosing medicine end up having on average a quarter of a million dollars in student debt. She noted professionals in the field are trying to increase the value of those in the trade, “so they get more adequately paid for the services they provide.”
McGuire is hoping achieving this will attract the next generation into family medicine, one of the MAFP Foundation’s goals.
The Academy and the Foundation each have its own board of directors, made up of family physicians who govern the actions of both groups.
“We get some outside insight because we do have public health initiatives and things along that line,” said McGuire. “We want to make sure we have some people from outside of the family physician practices to help us advocate the needs of the public.”
McGuire sits as executive vice president of the MAFP Foundation. While there are some restrictions on who can become a member, anyone can make a donation to the Foundation.
“They really have a heart for people. I have been so impressed working for family physicians, as is our staff with the compassion and the care family physicians have for people … it’s just amazing to me,” she said. “It’s truly an honor and a privilege to work with them.”